In 1888, Elizabeth St. Clair homesteaded 320 acres west of the Forks Hotel, on the road to Red Feather Lakes. She moved a log building to the site and named her home Log Cabin. A fortuitous road change in 1896 put Log Cabin on the track to Rustic and the upper Poudre Canyon. Until October 1920, the only way into the upper canyon was to go west on the road to Red Feather Lakes and then south at Log Cabin. (Now the intersection of Red Feather Lakes Road, CR 74E, and Boy Scout Road, CR 68C.)
St. Clair took advantage of the opportunity and opened her home to travelers. By 1903, she had added a second building that served as a store and post office. Log Cabin, Colorado was on the map.
Stewart Clayton Case, a teacher and a Larimer County assessor, saw the value in the location and purchased the property from St. Clair in 1910. He operated it until 1918, a peak period for the hotel, store, and post office. All of the images shown below are from the Case period.
Below are two views of Log Cabin, both circa 1912:
You have to love Northern Colorado where snow can fall at any time, even June 17.
St. Clair moved the original building from the Ashley Grange, a nearby school that trained younger sons of English nobles in ranching. By the time these images were made, Case had added a one-story addition on the back of the building for his family’s use.
Here is a close-up of the store and post office. The Log Cabin post office operated from June 24, 1903 to May 31, 1942. The post office used the postmark “LOGCABIN,” all one word.
An image with a precise date is a photo historian’s dream. Thanks to Stanley R. Case (see the bibliography at the end of this post), we know this photograph was taken on July 28, 1912 in front of the Log Cabin hotel. The occasion was the 80th birthday of Albert Case, standing on the far right of the group. Albert Case had homesteaded in the Red Feather Lakes area and had a mine in the Manhattan Mining District, before moving in with his son at Log Cabin in his later years. My Poudre Canyon book has Albert and his gold mine on the cover.
Finally here is another image of Log Cabin, this time as a printed colored image. You can see horse-drawn carriages and Stanley Steamers lined up in front of the hotel. This image is postmarked August 28, 1913, during a time when Casper Zimmerman operated a stage line that took people and products from Fort Collins to the upper canyon and Zimmerman’s Keystone Hotel.
Zimmerman used Stanley Steamers to travel from Fort Collins to Log Cabin, at least when the weather was good, and then switched to real horse power for the steep trip down to the canyon.
In 1931, the Log Cabin hotel burned down and was never replaced. Today, all that is left of Log Cabin is an historic marker shown below.
Much of the text for this post comes the book Barbara Fleming and I wrote for Arcadia Publishing, Images of America: Poudre Canyon, but our book owes a great deal to two earlier books that are shown below:
Case, Stanley R., The Poudre: A Photo History. 1995.
Livermore Woman’s Club, A History of Livermore, Colorado. 1995
The Case book is the bible of Poudre Canyon research and anyone who writes about the Canyon owes a debt to Stanley Case and his detailed work.